Thursday, 29 November 2007

Siu Nim Tao Variations

The most familiar version of siu nim tao to myself, and I presume to most students, is the Yip Man version.
It is said that Yip Man often spent around an hour completing the first section. I should really take more time over this.

Next up we have Gu Lao Wing Chun. This clip is not of siu nim tao as Gu Lao does not utilize the traditional Wing Chun forms. Instead it makes use of 40 techniques, or points which are combined in during combat. I have included this video as it appears to demonstrate a set very similar to siu nim tao but which combines areas of all the other forms. There is also a nice example of sticky hands at the end.

The name Gu Lao traces itself back to the village where Leung Jan, of Prodigal Son fame, retired. It claims a fairly direct and exclusive line of teaching right back to the early development of Wing Chun on the Chinese Opera Red Junks.
I personally like the ides of the small combinations and integration of the forms, perhaps they are not so much integrated as the forms I practice have been seperated out from this.

Lastly for this post, a video from the lineage of Mai Gai Wong or Rice Machine Wong. The most notable point in the clip, for me, is the fact that the hands are followed by the eyes and head.

More Siu Nim Tao soon.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Yunnan Pu Er Cha Zhuan 2000 CNNP

This 2000 cooked brick was a sample sneaked into my last order from Stéphane at Teamasters. It was a good sized sample, the pic below shows the chunk minus my first attack.

First of all I'd like to copy and paste from Teamasters, hoping that Stéphane will not mind too much, as I'd like to keep this blog as a repository of information and not just a reminder of my brain farts:

"This Yunnan Pu Er Cha Zhuan was made in the year 2000. It contains cooked pu er leaves of grade 5. After 5 years of rest, it starts to be drinkable, says my pu er importer. We tasted it together on the very same day and I found it still has a very strong camphor taste (but without the freshness). The taste of fermentation is still very much there, which I don't find very pleasant. But the astringency is completely gone. It is very round and becomes mellow. I guess it will improve as it ages further, but can also already be drunk now in a large teapot. The low price makes it also quite attractive to start with cooked puer."

The most notable thing about this tea was the aroma from the moment the water hit the gaiwan. It was not so much that the aroma was far better or more pleasing than other teas, it was the fact that it seemed to engulf the room and my olfactory factory within seconds. I'm not a huge fan of shu pu but this really raised my expectations. The olfactory assault was very pleasant if not hugely interestingThe tea itself I found very comforting to drink. More akin to drinking a rick, sweet milky chai than the red wine experience I usually associate with shu. I did not encounter many off tastes or scents but to be honest I wasn't really paying too much attention. This is a tea to be enjoyed and gulped not, i suspect, over analysed.

Drinking this has nudged me one step closer to investing in a cheap yixing for shu. If it rounds and smooths something like this even more then it could be worth a few dollars over at Yunnan Sourcing. I get the feeling the small, white gaiwan is a little clinical for this kind of tea.

Anyway, I'm a little further along the road of appreciating shu which could potentially make my tea habit just a little more affordable.

Cheers Stéphane.